Highly pathogenic strain of bird flu detected at Staffordshire farm

Chickens in coop
Chickens in coop (PA Archive)
16:59pm, Mon 29 Mar 2021
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A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been detected at a chicken farm in east Staffordshire.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said avian influenza H5N8 had been confirmed in broiler chickens at the premises, located north of Uttoxeter.

It was determined to be a highly pathogenic strain – meaning it leads to more severe disease in birds – on Monday.

Restrictions to limit the spread of the disease are now in place within a 10km radius around the site.

A 3km protection zone – which appears to centre around the village of Ellastone – along with a wider 10km surveillance zone is in place to restrict the movement of poultry.

Human cases of H5N8 infection were reported to the World Health Organisation for the first time in February this year, Public Health England (PHE) said.

Those seven cases all related to poultry workers in Russia.

However, the risk of infection to the UK public is “low” and anyone exposed to a confirmed H5N8 case will receive advice from a local health protection team, PHE added.

Defra said all birds on the infected farm will be humanely culled.

Anyone with poultry in Staffordshire should be vigilant and look out for signs of avian influenza and maintain biosecurity measures

Staffordshire County Council advised poultry and bird keepers in the area to keep their animals housed.

The local authority’s trading standards manager Stephanie Young added: “Anyone with poultry in Staffordshire should be vigilant and look out for signs of avian influenza and maintain biosecurity measures.

“If anyone has any concerns or needs further information, they should contact us straight away.”

Meanwhile, a low pathogenic strain of bird flu has been found at a turkey breeding farm in Cheshire.

A 1km “restricted zone” is in place around the village of Tarporley to limit the disease’s spread and all birds on the infected premises will be culled, Defra said.

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